All great examples, Chrisreader!
Speaking of Queen Victoria, I thought it was cool they included Sarah Forbes Bonetta in one of the episodes. I had never heard of her before, so naturally I had to look her up at the end of the show. Fascinating person.
I hadn’t heard of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, Sanditon until you brought it up. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.
“If she didn’t think it was “anachronistic” to include her in her books that we look at as a mirror of society during that time, why do people quibble with authors who do so now?”
I think there are a few reasons for this. A big one, unless I’m mistaken in my knowledge of history, is that there were definitely black aristocrats but not black dukes, kings, and queens in Regency England. I know that stirred up a bit of controversy on the Bridgerton thread, particularly in regard to Queen Charlotte. Despite the claims that the real Queen Charlotte was “black,” we have to keep in mind old England’s liberal classification of the term for anyone darker than they- if it was even brought up at the time. From what rudimentary research I uncovered, it is possible Queen Charlotte had Arab, Maghreb, and/or Berber heritage. But Sub-Saharan African? Probably not. I don’t say this as a criticism or a dog whistle or whatever someone wants to call it. I mention this because I think the critics of a black actress being cast as Queen Charlotte have a legitimate point. Just as I think critics would have a point if a blond haired, blue eyed Nordic type were cast for a real-life woman who had probable Middle Eastern/North African heritage. It really depends upon where you stand on the issue of colorblind casting.
Having said that, I understand Carrie’s point about viewers and readers who want to stretch past the bounds of believability in order to see diverse characters in HR. But that doesn’t work for me personally. Just like I would be turned off by anachronistic music, period-inappropriate costumes, and distracting modern day language in something touted as “historical.” I have often said that if a Shakespearean production keeps the late 1500s/early 1600s language but has the characters dressed up in 19th century costumes, I’m not watching it no matter how good the actors are. It’s just too distracting for me on a visual level.